Christmas event organisers have reassured the Pāpāmoa community that Santa will be coming to the suburb this year, even if he's not in a parade.

News yesterday that the suburb's traditional Christmas parade will only happen every second year in future generated backlash in local social media groups - "It's like saying Christmas every two years," said one commenter.

Others have applauded the idea to swap out the parade for a Christmas carnival in alternate years - "We would attend that equally as happily," said a local mum.

To assure the community that Pāpāmoa will still have a quality festive community event in the off years, parade organiser Pāpāmoa Unlimited has released new details about plans for a Christmas carnival.


"Santa will still be arriving and remain very much the man of the hour," said Pāpāmoa Unlimited co-ordinator Sarah Lewis, who said she had received some "hate mail" over the parade change.

She said the carnival would be held on December 16 from 3pm to 7pm on land next to Pāpāmoa Plaza.

The carnival would be "a bit like Christmas in the Park", she said.

"It will be more interactive as opposed to a passive viewing experience."

She said there would be a show appropriate for children, as well as something special for adults that would be announced in the next few weeks.

Organisers also hoped to have schools and groups perform their favourite festival carols, and there would be other carnival-appropriate stalls and attractions.

Lewis said alternating between parades and carnivals would "reinvigorate" Pāpāmoa's annual festive event as well as giving the growing suburb a "point of difference".

There were already established annual Santa parades in Te Puke, Tauranga and Katikati each year, she said.

A stagnating event could also struggle to attract the hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers needed to pull it off.

Councillor Leanne Brown, a veteran of organising five Christmas Parades when she was Mount Mainstreet's manager, applauded Pāpāmoa Unlimited's decision.

"Unless these events have a step change they can have an expiry date or get a bit flat.

"The last parade was nowhere near as good as the previous two."

Some entrants had become "complacent" with some businesses just using the parade as an opportunity to showcase themselves.

"A bit of tinsel on the windscreen just won't cut it. Schools were having a hard time coming up with something snazzy every year.

"Having it every second year will yield a better result. People love new stuff."

Jo Cantlon, owner of Blue Cottage, which won best float in the last parade, said she thought most parents would just take their children to other parades in the off years.

Angela Thomson, owner of Aberdeen House Christmas Shed in Te Puke, said it would have been hard for Pāpāmoa to compete with the more established events.